Snow. Frozen water. Gift of the heavens. Curse of the workers. Probably even more poisoned than normal rain – so have fun anyone who likes to eat it. Chernobyl, normal pollution and guys who take a piss in it made sure that I would need to be almost dead before putting some in my mouth. Luckily I don’t care for snow so much anyway. Yeah, it looks nice and all but mainly from behind the window. Otherwise it’s just cold, wet and blinding if the sun shines.
Personally I like my snow more in form of 0s and 1s. Ski or Die – that’s the way to have fun in the snow without getting cold hands. It’s still one of the only games to date which actually featured a decent snowball-fight. Most winter-games don’t even bother with putting them in. And even last year’s Shaun White’s Snowboarding only made a half-ass attempt on simulating the satisfaction of hitting someone straight in the face. But I’ve to admit: it was fun for a while. I mean throwing snowballs. Doing tricks on the board still is fun with that game.
Today’s winter-games mostly concentrate on the simulation of Olympic disciplines. Honestly – where’s the fun in that? Even back in the day with the one and only Wintergames I didn’t bother with most of the disciplines. “TLDNP” would be the appropriate acronym for most of them (Too Long Did Not Play). I mean running 1.000 meters was already a chore in Summergames and killed more than one joystick – but doing a full langlauf? Even biathlon was only fun because of the shooting part. Yes, I know – there are more. But without house-rules I’m one of those people that just aren’t interested.
Not really a surprise considering I ignore most sport titles except for snooker/billiard- and ice-hockey-simulations as well as racing games. Only fun titles like said Shaun White’s Snowboarding peak my interest – but they are almost all console-exclusive. Even Shaun White Snowboarding – World Stage will only be released on Wii because no-one cared for the PC-version of the original game (for understandable reasons). What do we get instead? The next 10.000 winter-olympics-based titles from RTL Games with only marginal upgrades since last year’s version. I guess at least someone did learn from EA Sports…
But what am I moaning about? The death of the PC? No, not really. If I turn my head left, I see the Tower of Babel made out of decent games released in the last three month for the PC alone. Perhaps if there were really less games for the PC, I would have more time playing them. The reality is that there’s enough material left for the Bagdadsoftware NOCAs. The nominees will be made public soon by the way. This year they may include one or two console-titles too for obvious reasons. I already have five games for the Xbox 360 after all and Brütal Legend has more than a decent chance of winning a category this year. Not enough for their own “Console game of the year”-category though But all in good time – first I need to get two more articles for GamersGlobal out the door this week.
One game that certainly won’t make the Top 3 of “Best First Person Shooter” of the year 2009 is Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. I mean I love Serious Sam even more than the Duke. But the remake is terribly lacking in many departments – including the most important part of the game: multiplayer.
Pings from hell, lags and crashes (in single-player too) aren’t my idea of fun. It’s especially sad if you look at how awesome the originals ran. No strain on the hardware and a network-code-quality still unreached by 90% of the games out there. Even Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has its quirks and I mean that game has been polished to hell. Still much fun though. The whole leveling system, earning rewards and all never gets old. Thanks to Mosh-Pit-mode even the maps and game-modes stay somewhat fresh. Singleplayer? Not so much. But I already talked about it when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was released. Constantly respawning enemies just aren’t fun. I’m always running through the levels in the search for the next checkpoint/cutscene/scriptsequence. You can’t stay at a point for five seconds without grenades raining down on you forcing you to move on.
What were we talking about? Ah, Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. That the graphical overhaul isn’t that big and the cooperative-mode runs like shit is a real shame. Serious Sam’s one-liners are still funny and killing hundreds and hundreds of enemies never gets old. But if I’ve to reset my graphics driver sometimes every two minutes in order to continue gaming – I won’t bother anymore till a second patch hits. Let’s hope they learn from this experience for the already announced Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter. I wonder if we will see a new Duke-game until then. I mean the game came out in 2001 and the jokes are STILL valid and funny.
At least there’s a good chance for a second patch to be released. The waiting period for that all-fixing Red Faction: Guerilla on the other hand just keeps getting longer and longer. A release in 2009? Becoming more and more unlikely as we speak. And the famous S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadows of Chernobyl-patch 1.1? Well, we don’t really talk about that anymore. Just go and buy S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat…